Tales from the Trail

The First Draft: Details

May 7, 2009

OBAMA/The devil’s in the details, the saying goes, and we’ll find out plenty of details today about two big initiatives of the Obama administration: the budget and the bank bailout.

First draft: No driving with the king this time

April 21, 2009

The last time Barack Obama saw Jordan’s King Abudullah, the monarch literally gave him a PORTUGAL/ride to the airport in Amman. That was before Obama was elected president, and the king shouldn’t expect a return of the favor during his visit to Washington today.

First draft: Ghost town

April 17, 2009

OBAMA/It’s Friday morning. Do you know where your leaders are?

They’re certainly not in Washington. President Obama leaves Mexico City for Trinidad and Tobago, where he will participate in the Summit of the Americas.

First draft: Paybacks

April 14, 2009

USA/Things are looking up on Wall Street. What will Washington have to say?

Goldman Sachs, coming off a strong earnings report, may try to pay back its $5 billion government loan early, so it can get out from under mandated salary caps. This move could reduce the cost of the financial bailout but also rekindle public anger about Wall Street greed. Look for a response from the Obama administration today.

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

Defending women’s rights in Afghanistan and Pakistan

April 4, 2009

Barely had President Barack Obama outlined a new strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan meant to narrow the focus to eliminating the threat from al Qaeda and its Islamist allies, before the U.S.-led campaign ran into what was always going to be one of its biggest problems in limiting its goals. What does it do about the rights of women in the region?

from Commodity Corner:

If only trade talks went this quick…

March 10, 2009

KirkCall it the Congressional version of the lightning round.

Ron Kirk, the Obama administration's choice for U.S. Trade Representative, had a rapid-fire confirmation hearing before the Senate Finance Committee on Monday that lasted no longer than 45 minutes.

The First Draft: urgent care

March 5, 2009

President Obama takes on healthcare reform at a 1:00 p.m. White House forum today, hoping to design an overhaul of a costly and inefficient system he believes is threatening the economy. About 120 participants from industry and government will gather to discuss potential fixes to the $2.5 trillion system. JAPAN

The First Draft: chilly winds and hot air

March 3, 2009

There’s a cold wind blowing in Washington on Tuesday morning, one day after a late-winter storm dumped up to a foot of snow on the region. DC residents anticipate a thaw when our national leaders provide their daily dose of hot air. WEATHER-USA/SNOW

The First Draft: another day, another $30 billion

March 2, 2009

It’s not yet 9:00 on a Monday morning, and the federal government has already dumped another $30 billion into the tottering financial system. The money goes to insurer American International Group Inc., which just announced a fourth-quarter loss of $61.7 billion — the largest quarterly loss in corporate history. WEATHER/

The First Draft: Drawdown in Iraq

February 27, 2009

President Obama makes no small plans. One day after announcing the biggest budget deficit since World War Two, Obama flies to a Marine base in North Carolina to announce a withdrawal timetable for troops in Iraq. IRAQ/